5 Best NCLEX-RN Review Books

The NCLEX-RN exam (National Council Licensure Examination) is the test that determines whether or not you are prepared to start practicing as a nurse. While tests taken during nursing school revolve around the knowledge you are acquiring during instruction time, this test measures your ability to make sound nursing judgments.

To help you prepare for this important test, we have assembled the best NCLEX-RN Review Books.

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Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best review book for the NCLEX-RN: Kaplan NCLEX-RN Prep Plus
(Between their review prep-book and their NCLEX-RN prep course there are so many different options they give you to succeed.)

The 5 Best NCLEX-RN Review Books

1. Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination

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Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
  • Linda Anne Silvestri PhD RN
  • Publisher: Saunders
  • Edition no. 8 (10/07/2019)

The Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination book has everything you need to prepare for this very important test. Not only does the book have the types of questions you’ll see on the NCLEX-RN exam, it also provides the rationale behind each answer, so you understand the reasoning behind why you got a question right or wrong.

There’s also a customized website called Evolve that includes thousands of additional questions to help you study for this crucial exam. The website offers several ways in which you can prepare, so it’s perfect for all types of learners.

The 75-question comprehensive exam at the end is laid out the same way you will find the questions on the actual NCLEX-RN exam, so there are no surprises once you sit down to take the real test.

Pros:

  • 75-question comprehensive exam
  • Free Evolve website with thousands of additional questions
  • The rationale is provided for each question, so you understand why you got it right or wrong

Cons:

  • Includes only some mnemonics
  • Must have internet access to view the Evolve website
  • A bit pricier than similar products

You can buy the Saunders NCLEX-RN review book on Amazon.com.

2. Kaplan NCLEX-RN Prep Plus

If you’re searching for a streamlined review guide to help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN, then this Kaplan NCLEX-RN Prep Plus book is right for you. Kaplan has been trusted by nursing students for over 80 years as they prepare for the NCLEX-RN and other important nursing tests. The book itself includes one thorough practice test as well as eight practice sets at the end of each chapter.

An additional test is available online on the Kaplan website. There’s also over an hour of video tutorials available online that will help you prepare for the exam. Each exam question comes with 10 different ways to solve the problem by utilizing critical thinking strategies.

Whether you get a question right or wrong, this review guide helps you understand the rationale behind the question, so when it comes time to take the actual test, you are totally prepared for it.

Pros:

  • 2 comprehensive tests- one in the book and one online
  • End-of-chapter practice sets
  • Over an hour of online video tutorials

Cons:

  • Not all information is contained in the book- some must be accessed online
  • The review questions are not as updated as other similar products
  • The book itself is excellent for a quick review, but more detailed information must be found online.

You can buy the Kaplan NCLEX-RN Prep Plus review book on Amazon.com.

As a side note, Kaplan also has an NCLEX-RN Prep course you can check out.

3. Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN

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Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN (Lippincott's Review For NCLEX-RN)
  • Diane Billings EdD RN FAAN, Desiree Hensel
  • Publisher: LWW
  • Edition no. 0 (04/09/2019)

The Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN is an excellent book for those that need more help with reviewing the knowledge they’ve acquired during nursing school. The book goes very in-depth with the four main components of the NCLEX-RN examination-

  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Mental health
  • Medical-surgical

It also has a separate section on pharmacology- one of the most difficult portions of the NCLEX-RN exam.

The book includes over 6,000 questions on a variety of critical-thinking topics that nurses need to know to both pass the NCLEX-RN exam and to obtain a position as an entry-level nurse. The questions are laid out in the same format that you will find on the actual NCLEX-RN exam, so you are fully prepared once it’s time to take the test.

There’s also access provided to an online resource called PassPoint, where you can find even more review questions and valuable content. If you prefer to hear questions verbally, there is also an audio format available via the PassPoint website.

Pros:

  • Over 6,000 critical-thinking questions
  • Content is broken down into four main sections: pediatrics, obstetrics, mental health, and medical-surgical to make it easier to focus on the questions you need the most practice with
  • Access to a valuable online resource called PassPoint

Cons:

  • Some content is focused on in-depth, while some other materials are just grazed over
  • More of a review of information rather than a practice in critical-thinking
  • The pharmacology section is only available online

The Lippincott Q&A NCLEX-RN Review book is available on Amazon.

4. HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination

For nurses looking for a complete book that will help them pass both the HESI exit exam and the NCLEX-RN examination, the HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination book is a great resource. There are multiple reasons to purchase this book, including eight chapters that focus on the most essential topics you need to know when preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam. They are organized by the main clinical areas tested on during the NCLEX-RN exam:

  • Medical-surgical
  • Pediatric
  • Maternity
  • Psychology and gerontology

After each chapter, there are review questions and accompanying answers that provide the rationale behind the correct answers. There are also two comprehensive practice exams that are laid out in the same fashion as the NCLEX-RN exam to help you get familiar with the testing format. In total, over 700 practice questions are available to you both in the book and online at the Evolve website. The questions are given in several different formats, including multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and prioritizing questions.

Pros:

  • The book is divided into chapters that each focus on a specific area of nursing, making it easy to find the content you need most
  • There are over 700 practice questions available
  • The questions are laid out in the same way the NCLEX-RN questions are given

Cons:

  • Some typos throughout the book
  • The newer version is very similar to the older version
  • The online access code only provides you access to 101 practice questions

Check out the HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination book available on Amazon.com.

5. Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN

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Davis's Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
  • Kathleen A. Ohman EdD MS RN
  • Publisher: F.A. Davis Company
  • Edition no. 3 (05/03/2019)

Davis’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN offers more practice questions than most other review books on the market today. With over 12,500 questions laid out in a variety of different formats, it gives you the best opportunity when it comes to taking practice tests before actually sitting down to complete the NCLEX-RN examination. There are 2,500 questions contained within the book and another 10,000 practice questions available online through the Davis Edge website.

This book best prepares you for the wide variety of questions you’ll see on the NCLEX-RN examination, including multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, SATA (select-all-that-apply), audio and video, and clinical judgment questions.

Since the NCLEX-RN exam tests your ability to apply the knowledge you’ve learned in nursing school in real-life situations, the clinical judgment questions are perhaps the most important questions offered in this book. There are also many test-taking tips provided within the book and the rationale behind each question is explained in complete detail.

Pros:

  • Offers one of the largest numbers of practice questions available in a review book with 12,500 total questions
  • A large variety of question formats are given, so you are better prepared for the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Several test-taking tips are provided

Cons:

  • More expensive than many other NCLEX-RN review books
  • Only 20% of the practice questions are listed in the book with the rest being online
  • Since most of the practice questions are online-only, technical difficulties may be experienced

Davis’s Q&A Review for the NCLEX is available on Amazon.com.

Buying Guide- NCLEX-RN Review Books

1. Practice Questions

The best way to prepare for any test is to practice beforehand. Answering as many practice questions in a variety of different formats prior to taking the NCLEX-RN examination will help you feel more comfortable once you sit down for the actual test.

2. Question Formats

The formats in which the practice questions are given are almost as important as the practice questions themselves. There should be as many formats as possible so you are better prepared for the different types of questions. Formats that you will see on the NCLEX-RN examination include:

  • Multiple-choice
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Select-all-that-apply (SATA)
  • Audio and video
  • Prioritizing
  • Clinical judgment

3. Chapter Organization

The way the book is laid out can help you study more efficiently. Choosing a review book with chapters geared towards specific areas of nursing will ensure you get the most out of your study time. The areas of nursing that are mainly focused on within the NCLEX-RN exam include:

  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Mental Health
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Pharmacology

4. Review Questions vs. Comprehensive Practice Test

It’s important to have both review questions at the end of each chapter in addition to at least one comprehensive practice test located within the book. The shorter review questions will indicate which areas you most need to focus on while the comprehensive practice test will give you the best idea of how you’ll perform on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

5. Sturdiness

A book with thick, glossy pages is more likely to hold up to the constant flipping back and forth that is sure to occur with frequent study sessions. A sturdy front and back cover is also crucial so that the pages within the book are kept safe and secure.

6. Online Access

The addition of a website that coordinates with the review book is an excellent resource to have when preparing for the NCLEX-RN examination. There are often thousands of additional practice questions- in both written and audio format- as well as video tutorials from qualified instructors.

7. Rationale and Critical Thinking

The NCLEX-RN exam focuses on your ability to use critical thinking skills while performing nursing tasks. Because of this, it’s crucial to know the rationale behind each correct answer on the NCLEX-RN exam. Understanding the why of something is just as important as knowing the answer itself. A review book that provides an in-depth analysis of each question can help prepare you for these types of problems.

8. Pharmacology

Pharmacology is an important part of the NCLEX-RN test that is not always touched on within review books. Since one of the most important jobs of a nurse is to hand out medications to their patients and answer any questions about those medications, a pharmacology review section that includes critical-thinking questions is a crucial component when preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Final Thoughts

The NCLEX-RN examination is a critical step towards becoming a nurse. Preparing yourself by studying and reviewing the knowledge you’ve acquired during nursing school and taking as many practice tests as possible is the best way to prepare for this important exam. These review books will all assist you in achieving your goal of passing the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

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